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My experiences include classroom teaching with special education students, school administration, school program development, and providing psychotherapy as a marriage and family therapist. Throughout my career, I have sought to expand my skills and knowledge at both the abstract theoretical level and at the level of clinical application. I have sought not only best practices, but an underlying understanding of learning, cognition, and emotions in order to inform my clinical work. I began my career as a middle school history teacher and was immediately confronted with the numerous difficulties that most teachers face, large class size, students with identified learning disabilities, English language leaners at all levels of language acquisition, students identified as gifted & talented, and a majority of students' families living below the poverty line. Violence and other behavioral misconduct was a daily occurrence on school grounds. In this setting it became clear that my training in basic behavioral interventions and information processing theory were not adequate. I began a life long pursuit of understanding human behavior & cognition in order to build the capacity to work with any child in any setting successfully. I have embraced many perspectives to improve my understanding and practice, including historical, sociological, philosophical, and psychological. After earning a master's degree in education and starting the doctorate of education program at the University of Southern California, I began my decade long position at a "non-public" certified school, working with special education students who's needs could not be met by any public district program. I took on numerous roles including classroom teacher, technology specialist, mentor teacher, and program administrator. I was proud to be known for finding success with any type of student, regardless of diagnoses. I was counted on to aid in crisis resolution with students engaging in violent behaviors. As an administrator I worked to create a new high school program that prepared students for return to public school, teacher evaluation procedures to provide needed professional development, a grading policy that accurately reflected student learning, an adult transition program that prepared graduates for post secondary settings, and a technology infrastructure funded through foundation grants. It became clear to me that understanding emotions and cognition were key to success with special needs kids. Working with a child's family was equally important to ensure that progress in the school could transition across settings. I found great success in meeting IEP goals through the use of Collaborative Problem Solving and other cognitive grounded practices. However, I found significant resistance to conceptualizing children's dysfunction outside of the dominant behaviorism paradigm. For this reason I completed a degree in marital and family therapy at Alliant International University. I then worked as a marriage and family therapist intern at a private practice where the majority of clients were children and families in the Medi-Cal program. I have served as administrator to coordinate issues related to special education services and develop social skills programs based on cognitive skill training. As a psychotherapist I have been able to work directly with children and parents outside of a behaviorism framework on goals that include emotionality and interpersonal understanding. Now in private practice, I am able to directly apply the refined processes I have developed over years of clinical experience, formal education, and personal research.
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Learn about Kyle Erwin
Changing the behavior of others can be a complex and paradoxical endeavor. To positively influence the behaviors of our kids and teens, it takes specific knowledge and skills. It takes prioritizing our goals. It takes accepting our limitations and working within them. The key to going beyond behaviors is understanding the quest for control, the drive to make the world conform to an underlying feeling of "rightness", to make our experience match the story of our subconscious.
We must understand that the same story that drove our ancestors continues to shape our expectations. I can help you make sense of the tragedy and conflict that exists in all of our stories. In order to feel in control, we must first understand what's happening. We must make sense of everything we see, think, and feel. Our stories provide us with these answers, but they also bring suffering. To work with this suffering, you can accept and harness the power of story.